In the Blood Characters
The main characters in In the Blood are Hester, Chilli, Reverend D., the Welfare Lady, the Doctor, Amiga Gringa, and Jabber.
- Hester, the protagonist of the play, is a single mother of five who lives under a bridge and who struggles to care for her family.
- Chilli is the father of Hester's oldest child, Jabber.
- Reverend D. is the negligent father of Hester's youngest child, Baby.
- The Welfare Lady is a social worker who helps but also exploits Hester.
- The Doctor convinces Hester to agree to a hysterectomy.
- Amiga Gringa is Hester's friend but often manipulates her.
- Jabber is Hester's oldest child, who tries to help Hester learn to read and write.
Last Updated on August 7, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1055
Hester, La Negrita
Hester, La Negrita is a young Black homeless woman who has five children by five different fathers. She cannot read nor write, but she can draw the letter “A” in the dirt and on the walls underneath the bridge where she lives with her children. She loves her children, referring to them often as her treasures, and she often goes without food in order to ensure that they can eat. Yet despite this seeming compassion, Hester is often harsh with her children, especially her eldest son, Jabber. Hester is sexually appealing to the men and women in her life. Her vulnerability and passivity are often exploited in the sexual experiences she has, which often lead to more difficult situations for Hester. Hester’s only true act of agency takes place when she violently murders her eldest son, Jabber. Hester appears in a prison cell in the play’s final scene, her freedom and agency entirely gone.
Chilli is Hester’s first lover and the father of her eldest son, Jabber. Chilli and Hester knew each other when they were young, and their love affair at that time in their lives was genuine. Throughout their relationship, Chilli was taking drugs, and the audience can infer that he behaved badly towards Hester. He returns to Hester thirteen years after the end of their relationship, having changed his name to avoid being found by social services. Though Chilli appears to have feelings for Hester, as evidenced by his suggestion that they marry, his love for her is selfishly motivated. He desires a wife, but he also desires the freedom to do whatever he likes and the ability to dominate Hester within the context of their marriage. Chilli avoids any discussion of their son, and once Chilli realizes that Hester has had four other children by four other men, Chilli abandons Hester, and their marriage plan evaporates.
Reverend D. is a local street preacher who was once homeless himself. He now has a church of his own, and his ability to put his life back on track leads him to assume that others who are homeless must be able to do the same. After a brief sexual encounter with Hester, she fell pregnant with his child. But he now denies his financial responsibility to Hester, even after she brings him a photograph of his two-year-old child, Baby. Reverend D. admits that he hates Hester, but he is also sexually excited by her neediness and her suffering.
The Welfare Lady
The Welfare Lady, who usually goes by “Welfare,” is a Black caseworker who meets with Hester to discuss her situation and to offer Hester advice about her circumstances. Though Welfare’s role is ostensibly one of support, she confesses to having taken advantage of Hester: Welfare once invited Hester to her house, where she and her husband engaged in a sexual encounter with Hester. Though she no longer seeks sexual favors from Hester, she expects Hester to soothe her with massages when they meet under the bridge where Hester lives. Welfare also provides Hester with an underpaid job sewing a dress.
Though the Doctor is in a position to help Hester, his primary purpose in the narrative is to submit Hester to a...
(The entire section contains 1055 words.)
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- Scene Summaries
- Critical Essays